Monday, January 19, 2009

Lessons learned from Gaza

After a halt (or pause) in the carnage wrought by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on the helpless people of Gaza (essentially a large open prison camp completely unprotected against the onslaught by the Israeli military hardware (paid for by the West), it is time for an initial assessment of what has happened. A number of pertinent conclusions arise:

1. The IDF is NOT invincible. In spite of being armed to the teeth with the latest technology, Israel did not achieve its only stated war objective of stopping the firing of rockets from the Gaza strip into Northern Israel. It's withdrawal after three weeks of continued bombardment and losing more than a dozen soldiers to the comparatively unarmed Gazan population rising in the defence of its territory is Israel's second major defeat in as many years. The war against Lebanon two years ago was also unsuccessful in its declared objective of returning two captured IDF soldiers. Nor has the political and military structure of either Hamas or Hizbullah been destroyed, leaving nothing but widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and heavy losses in civilian lives as the end result of those two military operations.

2. Israel cannot be trusted. In desperation at having lost its myth of invincibility she might try to strike at anyone to justify her continued existence. The possession of a huge nuclear arsenal makes such a pariah state highly dangerous.

3. Terrorism has been provided with official sanction: Since Israel has justified (state) terrorism and the indiscriminate killing and wounding of defenceless men, women and children as long as some kind of greater military objective is being pursued, the argument for not involving civilians in political and military conflicts has ultimately been lost. Any group with whatever perceived greater objective can now cite the Israeli attacks against Lebanon and Gaza as justification for causing widespread damage amongst civilians. Having thus changed the rules of engagement might still come to haunt both Israel and her Western allies.

4. There are no Islamic states or governments in the world. Any state wanting to be called Islamic would have intervened to liberate Gaza from the destruction brought upon it by Israel. Historically and under international war such intervention would have been justified in the face of Israeli war crimes. Numerous Arab and other Muslim nations have large standing armies (e.g. Turkey has at least a million soldiers in active service at any one time) and expensive military hardware; the case that they are powerless against Israel can, therefore, not be made, particularly given the inability of Israel to even win a war initiated by herself against peoples without a standing army (Lebanon and Gaza). Nor can the moral case of Israel merely defending her borders and "right to exist" be made any more after the indiscriminate targetting of civilians. Given that the majority of citizens all across the world objected to and abhorred the Israeli war crimes, the regimes imposed upon Muslim nations do not represent their people.

5. Western governments are more answerable to Israel than to their own people who voiced clear objection to the war against Gaza, hence the myth of democracy has once more been exposed as a farce. Foremost amongst those are the United States of America whose new president Obama has been discredited even before taking office by trying to cleverly not be drawn on the issue. In America the right to wrestle power back from from an unrepresentative and oppressive state by popular uprising is enshrined in the constitution, and similar notions exist in most other Western nation states. That the people, permanently enslaved by debt financing, will ever renegotiate the social contract is, however, highly questionable both in the West and in the Muslim world.

6. The UN is utterly useless. Its buildings and institutions can be attacked with impunity.

7. If there ever was a right for Israel to exist on land appropriated from other people without their consent, this right has now been eternally forfeited.

8. The current rulers of the world - Israel, the US and their subordinates amongst the nations - are more likely to be defeated by the outcome of their own arrogance and false sense of invincibility than an external conqueror. It is a rule of history that all empires will come to an end. Western economies are already imploding and Western armies are overstretched in unwinnable wars. The targetting of a perceived weak enemy, as in the case of Gaza, is a sign of increasing desparation heralding the quickening of this inevitable end.

P.S. I expect to be inundated with outraged, emotional and defamatory comments. They do not detract from the factuality of the above.